The political news website Politico is reporting Montana Gov. Steve Bullock will not make the stage for the first Democratic presidential debate June 26-27 in Miami.
The Democratic National Committee is responsible for establishing rules to qualify for the debate and will choose which candidates have met their criteria.
Politico and several other media organizations had previously reported Bullock met the criteria to be on the debate stage.
The DNC established two options for qualifying: 1% in three national or state polls or 65,000 unique donors (200 from 20 different states). The DNC set a June 12 cut-off date to meet the criteria. Due to polling rules, Bullock’s status on the stage is in doubt.
The news brought a sharp rebuke from the Bullock campaign.
“While Governor Bullock was expanding Medicaid to one in ten Montanans despite a nearly 60% Republican legislature, the DNC was making arbitrary rules behind closed doors. The DNC’s unmasking of this rule unfairly singles out the only Democratic candidate who won a Trump state — and penalizes him for doing his job,” said Jenn Ridder, campaign manager for Bullock.
Ridder characterized the move as a secret rule change that only affects one candidate, Steve Bullock.
In the Politico article, the DNC says the Bullock campaign has been aware of the poll criteria for months.
Getting on the stage for the first debates and the second ones in Detroit in July is absolutely essential for any candidate seeking to build momentum in the race. The debates will draw a large national audience — the likes of which these candidates haven’t seen yet. A strong performance can literally make a campaign.